Djokovic wants line judges replaced by technology

PARIS (Reuters) – Novak Djokovic’s relationship with line officials has been difficult of late and the Serbian risked their wrath again on Saturday when he suggested they were unnecessary.

Oct 3, 2020; Paris, France; Novak Djokovic (SRB) in action during his match against Daniel Elahi Gala (COL) on day seven at Stade Roland Garros. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

The 33-year-old world number one was dramatically defaulted in the U.S. Open fourth round after inadvertently hitting a female line judge in the throat with a loose ball.

Now he believes their job should be done by Hawkeye technology.

“With all my respect for the tradition and the culture we have in this sport, when it comes to people present on the court during a match, including line (judges), I really don’t see a reason why every single tournament in this world, in this technological advanced era, would not have what we had during the Cincinnati/New York tournaments,” Djokovic said.

The COVID-19 pandemic meant the majority of courts at the U.S. Open, part from the main show courts, dispensed with line judges as a health precaution.

They are back at the French Open which, because it is on clay, does not use Hawkeye technology for close calls, relying instead on the umpire to examine a mark in the red dust.

While the issue of whether players should be able to challenge via a Hawkeye review at the French Open and other claycourt events, as they do on other surfaces, has been debated all week here, Djokovic appears to want to go further.

“The technology is so advanced right now, there is absolutely no reason why you should keep line umpires on the court. That’s my opinion,” he said.

“Of course, I understand technology is expensive, so it’s an economic issue